NYRR Allows Quadriplegic to Compete in NYC Marathon
The organization denied Matt Brown’s entry earlier this week.
The New York RoadRunners did an about-face today by allowing quadriplegic Matt Brown to compete in this year’s New York City Marathon.
Earlier this week, NYRR denied Brown entry into the race based on a long-standing policy that entrants must participate under their own power. Brown is pushed in a wheelchair by Army Ranger Lucas Carr.
NYRR said in a statement released today that an exception was being made.
“We work very hard to accommodate participants overcoming great odds to compete in the ING New York City Marathon, and NYRR is allowing Mr. Carr and Matt Brown in the race this year given our special efforts to recognize and show solidarity with Boston,” the statement said. “We are working on details on how best to accommodate them and ensure the safest and best race for all of the more than 45,000 participants.”
“I’m very excited now,” Brown, 19, of Norwood, Massachusetts, told Runner’s World Newswire. “We’ve done Boston and Hyannis [marathons] and New York was next on our list. It would be something new and different, which I’m looking forward to.”
Brown said he was frustrated and angry when the pair were denied entry, and he credits the press they received for the change of heart.
“The publicity we got, it spread like wildfire,” he said. “My friends and Luke’s friends, we weren’t going to stand for it.”
Brown was paralyzed while playing hockey when he was 15. Since the accident, he and family friend Carr have completed a number of marathons and half-marathons together, including the Boston Marathon in 2012. Brown and Carr were scheduled to run Boston this year, but Brown was unable to participate due to illness. Carr competed on his own, finishing just before the bombs exploded.
“Road racing gets me back into athlete mentality,” said Brown. “The competitiveness never leaves, so I feel the need to be doing something.”